Row over new double garage at Tudor mansion

A PLANNING row has erupted over a large garage built next to a 16th-century manor house near Pucklechurch, in “blatant disregard” of planning rules.

Property owner Toby Nevitte, who built the garage on the grounds of Siston Court, will now be ordered to rebuild key parts of the structure after complaints about its size and concrete pillars from neighbours and conservation officers.

The estate’s main buildings were built in the 1500s during the reign of Elizabeth I.

The double-bay garage was recently built on the grounds next to the Grange, a Grade II-listed building.

While South Gloucestershire Council gave planning permission for a garage, the plans were for a smaller structure than was actually built. And the council also set down strict rules on what materials could be used, to match the surrounding buildings.

Dominic Trotman-Dickenson, custodian of the south wing of Siston Court, told a planning meeting on March 16: “My ancestors owned all of Siston for 220 years, from 1650 to 1870, during which time they built the pepper-pot cottages known as the Lodge and the Gatehouse, as well as building the Grange.

“In 2009, South Gloucestershire Council designated Siston a conservation area with a view to preserving the integrity of this site, including the landscape and environment of the Grade I and Grade II-listed buildings, and safeguarding it by strictly controlling any future developments.

“Unfortunately, the applicant took it upon himself to construct this garage in whatever manner he felt fit, with a total disregard for consented plans, and likewise ignored the conditions in the consented planning permission. At no point were external pillars ever consented to. The applicant built external pillars in an unauthorised and totally inappropriate stone.

“This is not a Blue Peter project where it can be botched to satisfy and appease the applicant. There are strict rules and guidelines on how it should have been constructed, and they have been blatantly flouted.”

The garage includes concrete pillars on each corner, which must now be covered up after the development management committee voted to give retrospective planning permission, again with strict rules on materials.

Mr Nevitte said the pillars were needed to comply with building regulations, providing structural integrity.

Councillor Steve Reade, whose Boyd Valley ward includes the estate, said Siston Court was a major heritage asset and “will always require the utmost respect when development is proposed”.

He said: “The stone is not appropriate for the area and is not in keeping with the stone used for the Court or associated buildings. It will not weather the same and will never blend in.

“The building has been built with external pillars, contrary to the style of all other buildings in the area.”

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service